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End of an era, beginning of another... - 85%

LuoaR, April 18th, 2011

Following the Voice of Blood was a very important album for Graveland. It marked the end of the raw black metal era of the band to the more (Bathory's) Hammerheart-era inspired pagan metal sound. I think was a big risk for Darken at the time, but in the future (if you dig the pagan metal sound) it paid off.

This is not to say that this isn't a black metal album anymore. There is still that raw feeling of lo-fidelity production in the album, especially in the guitars. The guitars aren't your typical buzz saw type black metal sound, but rather come off as ancient sounding instruments with a "clanging" sound. A very interesting approach to a metal guitar sound I must say. The keyboards are top-notch, which just go to show why there were a lot of bands who hired Darken to do various keyboard work on their albums and such. They sound very majestic, either being glorious in victory or the bitter taste of battling to the death. The drumming is ok, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired and is a flaw on this album.

Highlights? Well that's my only other gripe. In the beginning of each song you can tell them apart, but as you listen to each song you can get lost and think that the songs sound alike, and you don't know where one ends and another one begins. But overall I'd say my favorite songs are "Thurisaz" and "And the Horn was Sounding Far Away."

Overall, this is my favorite Graveland album. It combines old and new, but with a clear direction on where the band was headed. I would recommend this as the "Graveland for beginners" album if you've never heard the band yet.